U.S. stagnating sales could alter Mazda’s export plans image

Mazda Motor Corporation may revise its plan to increase exports because of stagnating demand in the United States, according to CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.

“We will keep our overall framework for our midterm plan, but we may change some parts. We’re studying about whether to maintain our plan to raise our export ratio to 85 percent from 80 percent,” Yamanouchi was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

The Japanese automaker had hoped to increase U.S. sales to about 400,000 units by 2016, as part of a strategy to sell 1.7 million vehicles worldwide in the same period, Yamanouchi said earlier this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Mazda, along with other Japanese carmakers including Toyota and Honda, is struggling to stay competitive in the United States as the Japanese yen’s gain against the dollar makes Japan-built autos less profitable to export.

Mazda’s U.S. sales increased by 8.7 percent this year through October to 209,641 units, while the overall U.S. auto market rose 10 percent this year. The Japanese carmaker expects sales in North America to rise 10 percent from a year earlier to 376,000 units in the 12 months ending March, according to its earnings forecast given on November 2.